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Historical residential institutions

This volume examines what we learned about survivors’ experiences of, and institutional responses to, child sexual abuse in residential institutions such as children’s homes, missions, reformatories and hospitals during the period spanning post-World War II to 1990.


We were sad lonely kids torn away from our family and did no one any harm. We should have been cared for and shown compassion for whatever reason we were unable to stay safe with our family. We had no safety net and would have been terrified to tell anyone.[1]

Every person, from family, from relatives, to professionals that I went and asked for help not only didn’t give me the help, they put me in a worse situation … How can a child be protected if the adults and the professionals choose to ignore the abuse?[2]

Volume 11 presents an overview of survivors’ experiences of child sexual abuse in historical residential institutions. In this volume, we use the term ‘historical’ to describe residential institutions in which children were placed from post–World War II to 1990. By 1990 many residential institutions had closed, although some groups of children continued to be placed in large residential settings after this time.

This volume brings together survivors’ accounts from private sessions, written accounts, findings from public hearings and research to document survivors’ experiences of sexual abuse in historical residential institutions. Although many of these institutions have closed, we acknowledge that for many survivors of child sexual abuse in these institutions, the impacts remain current.

[1] Name changed, private session, ‘Lela’.
[2] Name changed, private session, ‘Lisa Michelle’.

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